Culvert Design and Installation

Your one stop shop for water crossings and culverts.

culvert sizing

Culverts and Water Crossings

If you live on a rural property, there's a good chance you're going to need a culvert. Whether it's a driveway culvert to allow you to get over the roadside ditch to your home; or a water crossing on your property to allow you access to other parts of your property, Shade Group can help. From initial design and sizing (if requested by a permitting agency), to supply and installation, Shade Group will take you from start to finish.

Consultation and Permits 

Most (but not all) culvert installations will require input from an outside agency. A new driveway will require an entrance permit from a road authority like the City of Ottawa; a local Township; or in some cases the applicable County. Shade Group will start by helping you identify who the applicable road authority is.

A culvert on a stream, creek or even a seasonal watercourse, will generally require a permit from the local Conservation Authority (in the Ottawa Region, that may be the Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority, the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority, or sometimes even the South Nation Conservation Authority). Shade Group will help you through the consultation process with the applicable Conservation Authorty to determine what level of detail they require for a permit.

One thing to note; just because it's a roadside ditch, doesn't mean it isn't also a watercourse. In some cases, multiple permits may be required (e.g. from the Conservation Authority and from the City). Shade Group is well versed in navigating such complex situations and has the resources and experience to help.

We do recommend always consulting with the local conservation authority on any construction works involving culverts - new or replacements. While the intermittent stream on your property may not look to be significant, the conservation authority may feel otherwise, and construction of a culvert without a permit can result in costly fines. Similarly, a roadside ditch may be regulated as a watercourse - which automatically triggers the requirement for a permit from the conservation authority.

A Note on Replacements

Generally speaking, driveway culverts on a standard roadside ditch do not require permits as long as the proposed works are "like-for-like". That is to say; the pipe being removed is being replaced with the same or better equivalent pipe. If your current driveway culvert is 400mm in diameter, replacement with a smaller pipe diameter would not generally be permitted unless permission has been granted by the road authority.

It's key to remember that driveway culverts are usually (though not always) located off your property. They are generally located within land that is owned by the road authority. If you're ever questioning the limits of the roadway lands versus the front of your property, it's best to consult with the municipality; or an experienced Ontario Land Surveyor.

New Installation - Pipe Size 

Once the initial consultation has been completed, we will know whether the approval agency is willing to specify the size of the pipe, or if they require that it be sized by an appropriate professional. Determining the size requirements for a pipe is generally completed by a licensed professional engineer. Shade Group has in-house staff experienced with local agencies and their design requirements, and can prepare a sizing report if this has been requested. This report would typically support a permit application, particularly on defined and continuous flowing ditches and watercourses.

A note on timing: based on recent experiences in the Ottawa area, we recommend accounting for a minimum of 6 months to get through the design and permitting stage. If your timeline allows, plan for design and permitting in Year 1; and plan for installation in Year 2.

Shade Group has the resources to expedite the design works in house, but unfortunately we have no control over the turnaround once it's been submitted to the permitting agency. We recommend planning your project with conservative timelines to avoid disappointment.


Once the appropriate approvals have been obtained, construction can begin. Our staff has installed many culverts and are well versed in the standards and construction practices required to install a long lasting product. Our staff can offer recommendations during the design stage as to available products - i.e. metal pipes versus plastic pipes - and guide you on the best choice for your project. Our focus is on offering you the most cost effective, long term solution. We know of the importance of appropriately compacting the granulars and soils under the culvert to minimize the risk of settlement or buckling of the pipe. At Shade Group, we pride ourselves on taking the time to provide quality, long lasting works that will last for years to come.

Why Choose Shade Group for Culvert Sizing and Installation Needs?

When you choose Shade Group for your project you are partnering with a local business that has been serving the Ottawa area for over a decade. You can count on your project being completed on time, within your budget and with a level of workmanship and attention to detail you won’t find with other excavation contractors.

Our professional services strive to maintain an open line of communication throughout the design process, while our construction staff maintain a safe working environment and protect your property from any damage while using our machines. The end result is to meet all of your professional services, excavation and landscaping goals while leaving minimal trace of our presence. Our business has continued to grow through word-of-mouth from our many happy customers who refer us to friends and family. It’s through our continued commitment to quality and customer satisfaction that we are able to continue doing what we do best!

If you’d like to receive an estimate for your project please fill out our contact form and we’ll get right back to you.